MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins feel they’re playing some decent baseball through the first month of the season.
The problem lately, though, is that they haven’t been able to play at all.
Rain forced the Twins (12-11) to postpone Sunday’s series finale against first-place Detroit for a makeup game that has yet to be announced. Now, more rain Tuesday has caused the club to push back the first game against the Los Angeles Dodgers to a split day-night doubleheader Thursday at Target Field.
Throw in the scheduled off day Monday, and Minnesota has now gone three straight days without playing a game.
"Mother Nature’s winning right now," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Tuesday. "It’s like the guys going out there throwing today, they all said the same thing: It’s like they haven’t been out there in a year. It’s only been a few days, but you tie that in with the day off we had, also, it’s been a while since we’ve gotten to play some baseball."
Gardenhire said Tuesday that Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson — whose scheduled start Sunday against Detroit was originally pushed back to Tuesday — will now start Wednesday’s series opener against the Dodgers. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey will start the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, while the starter for Game 2 is still yet to be determined.
Gibson has been the Twins’ best starting pitcher early, going 3-1 with a 3.63 ERA in his first four starts. Start No. 5 of the year has had to wait a few extra days, however. So Gibson threw an extra bullpen session Sunday and says he’s ready to go for Wednesday’s game.
"You just kind of have to roll with it," Gibson said. "Mother Nature’s something that you just have to deal with. I think this is my third day treating it like the day before my start. . . . You just prepare as much as you can. This time, unfortunately, I’ve got to go from the Tigers to the Dodgers, so I’ve got to start looking over some information. That’s how baseball goes in the weather."
Some Twins players took advantage of Monday’s off day by attending Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche. Pitchers Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins, among a few others, were all at Xcel Energy Center to watch the Wild force a Game 7 with a 5-2 win over the Avalanche.
Gardenhire, meanwhile, elected to watch the game from home. He’s become a big Wild fan over the years and was pleased with the result of Monday’s game after a disappointing loss in Game 5.
"I was pumped up," Gardenhire said. "I just love it. I love hockey. It was really fun to watch. That was my down time yesterday. I waited all day for hockey."
Game 7 of that series is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, which will conflict with the Twins’ 7 p.m. game against the Dodgers. So what does the manager plan to do?
"I’m going to challenge something early and get thrown out of the game and come in here and watch hockey again," he joked. "It’ll be logged in at home, so I’ll watch it."
Tuesday marks the 11th postponement at Target Field since it opened in 2010, and the third time already this season. When the outdoor ballpark was built, some skeptics questioned the lack of a roof on a stadium in a climate such as Minnesota. Yet the Twins have lucked out for the most part with the weather, up until this month.
Still, Gardenhire would rather be here than indoors at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. When asked if he missed the old Dome — which has since been demolished to make way for a new Vikings stadium — Gardenhire’s answer was a quick and resounding no.
"We knew we were playing, and that was really cool about the Metrodome," Gardenhire said. "But we like Target (Field). God has a plan with this weather, and he’s throwing it at us right now. He’s making things right for the grass and everything else. We’ll get to play baseball eventually."